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As the death of Christ was foreshewn to the faithful by bloody sacrifices before he came; so now, after he is come, his death is commemorated, and its benefits communicated, by the signs of bread and wine, the new Passover of the Gospel, in which we are said to eat his flesh and drink his-blood; and except we partake of this sacrifice, we have no more life in our souls, than our bodies would have without meat and drink. So long as there are offerings, there must be priests to offer. Jesus Christ does not act in person under the Gospel, any more than under the law; he is present with us only by those persons who are ordained to act for him; and every true priest must be of his making; for no man taketh this honour to himself, but he that is called of God. No man can act for a king, but he who hath the king's authority; so can no man act for God, but he whom God hath appointed. Who are they that make light of priests, and neglect the Christian sacrifice? None but they who have no priests, or who think they want none, or that they can make priests of themselves. Jesus Christ is indeed the only true priest; and every Christian praying to God through his merits, is in private a priest to himself; but priests must be appointed of God, to commemorate the sacrifice of Christ, and communicate the benefits of it from the altar to the congregation, and to pronounce pardon and absolution (that is, forgiveness of sin) from him to the penitent sinner.
This is God's way of forgiving sin; for the teaching of our minds, and the trial of our faith and obedience. Proud people, who understand not the ways of God, think no man great enough to rule them, no man good enough to pray for them; not considering, that no man is any thing of himself; the sufficiency of the ministry being only from God. Therefore God
is not jealous of the authority of his ministers, but of his own authority in them. He that despiseth you, says our Lord to his ministers, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me; so said Moses and Aaron against Corah, Dathan, and Abiram, who presumptuously made priests of themselves; What are we? Your rebellion is not against us, but against the Lord. He who hath no priest, hath no sacrifice; he who hath no sacrifice, must be a sacrifice for himself; therefore if I forfeit the benefit of Christ's death, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, such as fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah, and such as there would be upon me, and upon all mankind, if there were neither priest nor sacrifice appointed for us. Every man must then be his own sacrifice, and bear the wrath of God in his own per
Q. What is a Priest?
A. An intercessor appointed of God to present offerings and pronounce blessings.
Q. Who were they that observed the rites of priesthood and sacrifices?
A. All ages and nations, till human philosophy of late time invented a religion without a Saviour. Q. Why is man called dust and ashes?
A. Because he is subject to death, and to the fire of God's justice against sin.
Q. How is this to be turned away from us?
A. By Jesus Christ placing himself in our stead as a sacrifice.
Q. What did the sacrifices mean under the law of Moses?
A. They shewed his death.
Q. Are priests necessary under the Gospel?
A. They are now of another order; but they are still priests as before.
Q. Why so?
A. Because Melchisedec is called the priest of the most high God, though he offered only bread and wine. (Gen. xiv. 18.)
Q. How came there to be priests on earth?
A. There never would have been any but for Jesus Christ; for all others act in and through him, who is the only true priest from the beginning to the end of the world.
Q. Who are they that despise priests ?
A. They who have none, or think they want
Q. Who gives authority to priests ?
A. God; who will vindicate in them his own authority, which must be supported, not for our sakes, but for his own glory.
Q. Suppose we forfeit the benefits of the priesthood, and sacrifice of Jesus Christ?
A. There remaineth for us then nothing but that judgment and fiery indignation, which would have been upon all mankind if there had been no Saviour.
Q. Where are you to learn the nature of the priesthood of Jesus Christ and his ministers ?
A. It is all explained at large in the Epistle to the Hebrews.
Heb. v. 1. Every high priest taken from among men is ordained, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.
Gen. xxii. 13. And Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering, instead of his son.
Gen. xviii. 27. I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes.
By a sacrifice for sin he
Rom. viii. 3. (margin) condemned sin in the flesh. Lev. ix. 24. And then came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering.
1 Cor. v. 7. Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast.
Heb. xiii. 10. We have an altar whereof they have no right to eat which serve the Tabernacle.
John xx. 21. As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you-whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them.
1 Cor. x. 16. The cup of blessing, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?
XVIII. THE CHAPTER OF GLORY.
I AM to praise God, for having given me the hope of glory. What is glory? It signifies the bright shining of the light; and the word is applied to the lights of heaven. There is one glory of the sun, and
another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory. The glory of the light dwelleth in the sun, and from him it is spread over all the creation below, where no object has any light of its own. So the glory of the invisible heavens is with God; and from him it is communicated to angels and saints, who have no glory but what they receive from Him. All objects, on which the sun shines, are in a glorified state, compared with those on which it doth not shine; so it is impossible to be in the presence of God without being shone upon and glorified; therefore, when God himself shall be made manifest, and his light shall shine, we shall all be changed; and our change shall happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye; for so doth light break out suddenly, and shine upon all things.
While we live upon this earth, our light is interrupted with darkness, and our summer is followed by a winter. One half of the earth's globe is in darkness, and they that inhabit it are turned round every day into its shadow; but if we are lifted up into the heavens, farther than the extent of the earth's shade, our day would be uninterrupted, and our season would be the same. Such is the state of those who are in the presence of God; for with him there is none of this variableness nor shadow of turning.
All that is heavenly, or comes from heaven, is bright and glorious; all that is earthly partakes of darkness. When Jesus was transfigured, his raiment became white as the light itself. When the angel of the Lord descended to deliver Peter, a light shined in the prison at midnight. When Moses conversed with God upon the Mount, his face retained the light which had shone upon it, so that the people could not stedfastly look upon him. When Jesus appeared to